Shinto Influence On American Culture

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Healthy international relations are important for a country who wants to be a strong world power. Involvement with other countries usually strengthens economy, trade, knowledge, and many more aspects prevalent to everyday life. Commodore Matthew Perry first arrived to a then isolated country for the first time on July 8, 1853. Japan had been isolated since 1639 due to the ban of trade with most countries, traveling internationally, and with the ban of foreign books. Japan had been cut off from most other countries for nearly two hundred years. The Tokugawa Shogunate (leaders) were fearful of foreign aggression and the spread of Christianity. Most foreigners and all priests were expelled from the country, and the citizens of Japan were forbidden …show more content…

Although Japan had been open to outsiders, most accounts from those days were either destroyed or not accessible for the public. A major religion, Christianity, was introduced by European missionaries and Perry’s crew. The idea of another religion being openly accepted may have seemed obscure to this secluded community, as the interest was tremendous. The main religion of Japan was Shinto, “Shinto is an optimistic faith, as humans are thought to be fundamentally good, and evil is believed to be caused by evil spirits. Consequently, the purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits by purification, prayers and offerings to the kami.” (BBC). Christianity had a major effect on Japan, as many people saw it as a chance to get one step closer to the outside world. As more people accepted Christianity, Shintoism became less …show more content…

Even before the Americans stepped foot on Japanese soil, panic had already started to ensue inside Japan. The sheer size of the ship 's heading towards the land was incredible. In a drawing illustrated by an unknown Japanese servant, the difference in modernization is quite apparent. The Japanese boats that were out fishing are definitely not the eye catching part of the scene. The American ships shown in this drawing (kept in Peabody Essex Museum), takes up nearly the entire frame. This is just the beginning of the differences of the Japanese and Americans in terms of technology. The Japanese were unable to invent new and improved technology nearly as quickly as other countries because of the lack of resources, the freedom to explore new options, and the ability to share ideas was limited. The struggle for resources may have been one of the biggest difference between the Western world and Japan. Since Japan was an island, much of their food sources came from the sea, and a substantial amount of the ground is unstable because of the surrounding water. There was very little coal and important metals on this island, which slowed down its industrialization. Many European countries held a lot of power internationally, but they were also excluded from Japan, making it even harder for the Japanese to modernize, “By 1800, however, Japan 's rulers were aware of an increasingly aggressive European presence. Sporadic encounters with Russian, U.S., and British ships that had entered

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